Heads up: some of the links on this site are affiliate links. If you click and make a booking or purchase, I’ll make a commission (at no extra cost to you). I partner with companies I personally use and the $$ goes towards creating more awesome, free travel content.
As you can see from the display ads on my site, I’m a member of Mediavine, which is a popular display ad network being used by thousands of bloggers. I signed up to Mediavine in 2017 after a fellow travel blogger told me she made enough money to pay her monthly rent from Mediavine ads.
Up until then I’d only run Adsense on my site and I figured display ads only bring in some pocket money at best. So naturally when she let me in on the secret of Mediavine, I didn’t hesitate to apply.
Mediavine definitely gave me a boost in blog revenue and outperformed Google Adsense by a long way.
If you’re looking for ways to monetize your website then no doubt you’ve thought about having display ads on your site. Other potential income streams include affiliate marketing, sponsored content and selling products, but display ads are an easy way to generate some passive income if you get decent traffic.
Mediavine has made it possible for bloggers to really maximise the revenue they receive from display ads, plus they’re fairly unobtrusive. so it’s no wonder that most successful blogs are signed up to them. But what is it like to be a Mediavine publisher and how much money can you actually make with it?
Read on for my in-depth Mediavine review:
What is Mediavine?
Mediavine is an advertising management service that represents publishers in all verticals but particularly the travel, home, finance, lifestyle and food spaces.
The company primarily manages display ad placements so that publishers can make money from their websites.
However, you shouldn’t just think of them as a display ad network. They also have a ton of other products to help you optimize your site and ultimately boost traffic and performance.
For example they’ve developed a WordPress theme called Trellis, plus a suite of WordPress plugins including a social sharing plugin.
In order to qualify for Mediavine your site has to meet their requirements:
- Site must receive 50,000 sessions per 30 day period
- Traffic must be real human traffic
- Content should be original and long-form
- Site must be in good standing with Google AdSense and Google AdExchange
- Visitors should be predominantly from the U.S, Canada and the UK
Note: Make sure you login to your Google Analytics account and check the number of sessions. This is not the same as the number of pageviews. If you’re getting 50,000 sessions then you’d be getting roughly 65,000-70,000 pageviews per month.
How to qualify for Mediavine
In order to get accepted to Mediavine, the main thing to focus on is reaching 50,000 sessions per month. I’ve written a detailed guide on how to get approved for Mediavine but essentially you need to write original, long-form content.
Some bloggers get the majority of their traffic from Pinterest and social networks but Mediavine is looking for quality organic traffic from Google since it’s more stable. It will be to your benefit to focus on SEO and writing long, detailed posts with plenty of information for your readers. I’m talking about 3,000 word posts, not 500 word posts.
Do NOT try to pay for traffic. Mediavine and its ad partners have special tools and methods for verifying that your traffic is real. If you buy traffic you probably won’t get approved or you’ll be banned from the platform.
Some ways you can build traffic naturally to your blog include:
Keyword Research – The most important part of writing a blog post is keyword research. Use a paid keyword research tool like Keysearch. It’s more affordable than tools such as Ahrefs so I’d highly recommend it if you’re just starting out. Think of a topic you’d like to write about and then enter it in the search bar. Keysearch will then throw up a list or related keywords as well as longtail search engine keyword suggestions. Keysearch shows you the volume of people searching for a particular keyword and provides a difficulty score to show how difficult that term is to rank for. There are a multitude of other things you can do with this tool which I won’t go into here, but basically you should be using Keysearch to research your topic ideas.
Long-form posts – Mediavine loves long-form posts because not only are they great for search engines, they also allow Mediavine to display more ads from their ad partners. The longer the post, the more time a reader spends scrolling and reading, which means they’re going to spend more time viewing ads.
Link building – One of the factors that Google considers when ranking a page is the number of links pointing to it. So once you’ve created quality content you’ll want to try to build links to it. Link building is a hard task but there are numerous methods you can use. Start by sharing your posts on social media, groups and forums. You should be doing this for every post. Next you can try some email outreach to encourage people to link to your posts. If you mention a brand or company in your post, you could email them to let them know. They may link to your article from their site or decide to collaborate with you. You can also find similar posts to the topic you’ve written about and email the author suggesting they add your article as a resource. If there’s a broken backlink you could suggest that they replace it with a link to your post instead. You can also do link exchanges, where you link to their article and they link to yours.
Self-promotion – If you want to reach an even wider audience then you should consider guest posting on other blogs. You can also reach out to journalists to see if they’d be interested in featuring you in their publication.
Pinterest – While it’s important to get most of your search traffic from organic search, it can’t hurt to give your website a boost with traffic from Pinterest.
Increase font size and use short paragraphs – When Mediavine examines your site they’ll be looking at the length of your posts. They also suggest increasing your font size and using shorter paragraphs so that the reader spends more time on your site. Using shorter paragraphs also allows them to insert more ads between paragraphs. It can’t hurt to make sure you’re doing this before applying.
Mediavine Onboarding Process
Below are the basic steps that are involved in the Mediavine onboarding process:
- Fill out the Mediavine application
- Create PDF from Google Analytics and email to Mediavine
- Sign contract
- Prepare website for launch
Once I filled out the Mediavine application I was sent an email about verifying traffic with Mediavine’s ad partners.
They gave me step by step instructions on how to create a PDF from Google Analytics with traffic information from the last 30 days. Once I created the PDF I had to email this to them so they could check if my traffic is real and make sure I received over 25,000 sessions per month (that was the requirement back then but now it’s 50,000 sessions).
Once approved they sent me a contract to sign using an e-signing service, SignNow.
After signing the contract I received another email saying that they noticed I had Google Analytics tracking installed twice and they instructed me to remove the second tracking code. This part was no big deal and an easy fix.
Next up they gave me Mediavine Dashboard access and sent me the account info. I had to reset my password on first sign in so I could access the account.
After this I was sent quite a detailed document by Mediavine listing the next steps to prepare for launch.
Things I needed to do to prepare:
- Grant Google Analytics read and write access.
- Remove social sharing buttons that were floating on the bottom of the screen. These floating buttons conflict with Mediavine’s adhesion units, which also float at the bottom of the screen.
- Login to the Mediavine Dashboard and set up my payments profile in order to get paid.
- Complete the profile and influencer survey.
- Check for conflicts such as lazy loading iframes or videos or Cloudflare’s Rocket Loader feature.
After completing the steps I sent them an email to let them know it was all complete.
Mediavine launches ads on weekdays from Monday to Friday during 9am to 4pm CST. This ensures that there’s always someone available to help should there be any setup issues. They informed me they would start with the 5 standard ad placements, which needed to be left in place for 90 days.
Before launch Mediavine did their final checks and noticed that my sidebar wasn’t set up correctly for ad placements. Basically as my page shrank in width, so did my sidebar.
Mediavine sidebar ads have a fixed width of 300 pixels, so they said that some users would see part of the ads cutoff if they were viewing on smaller devices or they weren’t viewing in full screen. To mitigate that they needed to change my sidebar settings so that the sidebar stays a fixed width of at least 300 pixels as the page resizes.
They told me I could do it myself or they could do it for me. While I’m pretty good with technical stuff I didn’t want to tinker with my site so I let the Mediavine team do it for me. All I had to do was give them the WordPress Admin login as well as FTP or cPanel information.
Once this was all fixed, Mediavine flipped the switch on my ads and they went live! After that I was sent a series of emails as well as an invite to the Mediavine Facebook group.
Mediavine Customer Support
Mediavine’s customer support is superb. I’ve never had any problems with them.
How much money can you make with Mediavine?
Mediavine offers some of the best RPMs in the industry.
What is RPM exactly? Well it means revenue per mille (mille=1000)
So on Mediavine, since they measure everything in sessions, it’s the revenue per 1000 sessions.
In the month of June 2021 my RPM ranged from $10.22 at the lowest to $23.50 at the higher end. My average RPM for that month was $15.25!
The ads that perform the best for me are the in-content ads and the adhesion units at the bottom of the page. The majority of my visitors are using smartphones to visit my site, followed by desktop, so it makes sense that the sidebar ads wouldn’t perform as well.
So looking at that average RPM for a travel website, if you were to have a travel blog with 100,000 sessions per month that would be $1525 per month passive income. That will pay for monthly rent in many places in the U.S.
If you were to have a blog with 200,000 sessions per month that’s $3050 per month!
And if you hit 500,000 sessions per month? $7625 per month in earnings. That’s enough to pay for your rent, living costs and buying some nice things without having to lift a finger.
A final word…
If your website hits over 50,000 sessions per month then it’s definitely worth signing up to Mediavine if you want to make passive income from your blog. While there are other ways to make money blogging, such as inserting affiliate links and selling products, Mediavine allows you to make money while you sleep. Not too shabby!
Over 100,000 sessions and you could sign up to AdThrive but honestly Mediavine is an industry leading platform and many bloggers report being very happy with them. You really can’t go wrong with Mediavine.